It’s been a pretty dismal few weeks for the Yankees.
Curtis Granderson broke his right arm in a spring training game. He is due to return sometime in May.
Mark Teixeira is out eight to ten weeks with a strained right wrist.
Phil Hughes has also been sidelined with a back injury through much of spring training.
It also looks like Mariano Rivera is set to announce his retirement tomorrow. He’ll play out the 2013 season and walk away.
Derek Jeter was cleared today to start playing in spring training games, but there is no date set for his first appearance. He’s no lock for opening day at this point.
Oh, and don’t forget, both the lefties in the bullpen, Boone Logan and Clay Rapada, are also sidelined with injuries at this point.
The Yankees might have a strange look and a bunch of unfamiliar names on opening day against the Red Sox on April 1 in the Bronx.
The addition of Kevin Youkilis gives the Yankees one option to replace Teixeira at first in the short term. Travis Hafner, signed as a free agent from Cleveland, is another possibility, but he really should be a DH only at this point in his career.
That still leaves a hole at third base. Eduardo Nunez could fill in, but the Yankees have really been making an effort to play him at shortstop as much as possible despite his defensive struggles.
Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera are among the candidates to take Granderson’s spot in left field.
The Yankees could make a trade or two or sign one of the free agents still on the market, but with the franchise’s recent shift toward frugality, that seems unlikely.
The injury bug hasn’t even spared general manager Brian Cashman, who broke bones in his leg after jumping out of a plane to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Instead, you’re looking at a Yankees team with a bunch of spare parts playing major time in April.
That might work fine for the Yankees, as they do still have a solid starting rotation and a strong bullpen. However, CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte aren’t getting any younger, so they are injury risks. Ivan Nova has been the recipient of tremendous run support over his entire big league career, so how will he fare on a team that doesn’t hit as many home runs? What happens if Jeter and Rivera can’t come back from their injuries? What happens when Youkilis inevitably ends up on the DL himself?
With Tampa Bay, Toronto and Baltimore all bringing back solid clubs and the Red Sox in many ways in the same boat as the Yankees, it’s tough to be optimistic about this team at this point. How do you feel? Can this Yankees team find a way to fight through the injuries and qualify for the postseason? Let me know on Twitter: @THR_Montgomery.